Reminiscence Christmas Party – Nostalgia, Gingerbread and Disney Films!

Talking about the past has been good for my soul

Resident of Crabbe Street care home

On Wednesday and Thursday 10th and 11th of December the Eighth in the East team spent two days at Crabbe Street care home and wellbeing centre running a series of reminiscence sessions.

These sessions were developed in order to pay homage to the parties that the American Servicemen used to put on for local children at Christmas time. Many of the residents and visitors to Crabbe Street were children during the war and could remember the ‘yanks!’ and their famously exciting parties.

381st Bomb Group Christmas Party (Ridgewell - 1944)

381st Bomb Group Christmas Party (Ridgewell – 1944)

The day begun with a series of original Disney short films. This was particularly poignant for one Lady whose Grandfather used to own a picture house in Diss. We then looked at a series of items of memorabilia kindly lent to the Eighth in the East for the day by the Second Air Division Memorial Library. These re-kindled all sorts of memories. The sweetheart jewellery was of particular interest to many as well as an original American Serviceman’s Jacket – once a familiar sight around Ipswich.

In the afternoon some of the residents decorated WWII style ginger bread and almost everyone had a good old sing along to George Formby or tapped a foot in time to the tunes of Glenn Miller.

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As a specialist in the care of those with formal demential diagnoses many of the residents at Crabbe Street have very poor short term memory, however when presented with WWII photographs and memorabilia were able to speak with real clarity and vividness about their younger days during the war. Some of the residents recalled the air-raids in Ipswich, the handing out of sweets ‘have you got any gum chum?’ one gentleman shouted out, and most spoke of fondness about the impact the Americans had on their lives from 1942-1945.

If you are a museum, school, organisation or care home interested in developing a WWII American themed reminiscence session, or have any enquiries on how to run a similar event then do not hesitate to contact one of the Eighth in the East team.

Today has been great, it has bought back some lovely memories.

Wartime butcher in Ipswich, and attendee at Crabbe Street